Rhode Island… the home of the PawSox and sweet heart deals. The new owners of the PawSox are dead set on getting out of Pawtucket and into Providence but they want the tax payers help to do it. The owners have unveiled a rendering of what the new stadium would look like, although based on the image it is not too clear where the parking will be, either way they say the project will cost about $85 million to build.
The team says they will invest the dough if Rhode Island taxpayers cut them some breaks and let them recuperate on the investment. They are requesting state and city subsidies after the project is done. Basically the deal is a lease-sublease agreement that would ultimately cost taxpayers $4 million dollars a year over the next four years. About $120 million over thirty years… about $35 million more than the initial investment. According to a study conducted on behalf of the team, the state stands to gain $12.3 million in direct spending and about $2 million more in tax revenues.
Now, before every Rhode Island politician rushes to throw cash at the PawSox and their new owners, they should make sure they vet this deal and vet it well. If passed the state would be paying $4 million a year for the PawSox, while tax payers are still licking their wounds from the millions we are paying back to investors after the failed 38 Studios loan deal. Law makers need to approach this with caution because not only can the state not afford another 38 studios deal, tax payers can’t handle another huge blow to morale.
By the way, on average each Rhode Islander would pay about $4.00 a year in tax money to have to PawSox in Providence.
While the PawSox going to Providence would virtually devastate Pawtucket and completely uproot a Rhode Island tradition there are benefits to the stadium in Providence. First, the proposed stadium does look gorgeous and would probably be first class. Second, it is a more central venue, although many Rhode Islanders do get anxiety when they are told they need to travel to Providence. Third, the venue could be used for more than just baseball games during the off season. It could be like a Fenway park but in Rhode Island. While McCoy hosts a yearly concert, the possibilities for a centrally located baseball stadium on the water are endless.
Regardless of the possibilities Rhode Island lawmakers need to conduct their own feasibility studies and hire their own consulting firms and vet the deal before diving in. Hopefully lawmakers won’t just being seeing dollar signs for themselves which was the case with 38 Studios and they think about the best interests for the tax payers before committing the state.
Hockey season's not over?
Even though the Bruins are done for the season, a local hero still remains in the running for the Stanley Cup. Jack Capuano, coach of the New York Islanders, is still a contender. Capuano grew up in Cranston
Separated the wheat from the Chaf
Meanwhile, Marco Rubio officially entered the race for president this week. Now we have Hilary Clinton, Marco Rubio and that guy from Rhode Island… Lincoln Chafee. By the way, Saturday Night Live mustn’t take Chafee’s candidacy seriously because during a Hillary Clinton skit where she discussed possible Democratic challengers his name wasn’t even mentioned.
Guns don't kill people -- well they do, just not legal ones.
There was a rally this week at the State House this week to call for limits where guns can be carried in Rhode Island. Providence Public Safety Commissioner, Steven Pare, joined the rally. The problem in Rhode Island is not guns, it is illegal guns on the streets of Providence. Even if you limit who can carry a gun and where, it is not going to keep guns out of the hands of gang members who have an entire underground economy and ways to access illegal weapons. If people are truly concerned for gun violence in providence, they should be rallying for more police protection and more money to support an illegal gun task force in Providence. But it’s more trendy to call for eliminating firearms or who can carry them. Rallies are great but in the end very ineffective. The bottom line is the state needs money to address some of the serious issues like public safety and illegal guns in the city.
Maybe the real solution is a ball park in downtown Providence or maybe it’s just another way for the state to waste money.
Close, but no job
Unemployment in Rhode Island has dropped again now we have hit 6.3% in March, adding 1,600 jobs. Half of the jobs were in education, the other half in food service. That’s good news except we still are almost a percent above the national average.
The statehouse is still standing, so that's a plus
By the way this week marks the first 100 days in office for Governor Raimondo. So far, so good seems to be consensus.
That’s all for this week. I’ll see you guys next week.